Maryville proves unstoppable
Sevier County could not stop Maryville.
That’s not hyperbole. Every time the Rebels had the ball on Friday night, they scored. By the end of the game, Maryville had seven touchdowns and two field goals in a 55-6 rout at Burchfield Stadium.
It wasn’t that the Smoky Bears didn’t have opportunities to pick up the stop they desperately needed against the state’s No. 1 team. Maryville just proved to be extra special when the sticks were far away.
“(The defense is) playing extremely hard,” said Sevier County coach Steve Brewer. “We’ve just got to keep coaching them. We’ve got to do a better job tackling. I think most of the big plays were on screens. We didn’t maybe cover as well as we needed to with some of our folks. There’s is an offense that isn’t an easy offense to defend. They do a great job executing.”
The Rebels (5-0) were nearly perfect on third downs, converting nine of the 10 they faced. Brewer said his offense struggled to string decent plays together, but it seemed to be true of the Sevier County defense as well.
The Bears (4-1) forced a third-and-seven on the game’s opening drive, only to see quarterback John Garrett link up with tight end Bryce Miller for 21 yards. Five plays later, on a first-and-15 after a penalty, Garrett fired a 36-yard touchdown strike to Cody Carroll.
“They don’t mess up, really,” said Bears junior Zach Sauls. “They play everything to a T. They do everything right. They don’t make any mistakes at all.”
When the Rebels did have a bad play, a big one wasn’t far away. After Sevier County stopped Jaylen Burgess for a loss late in the first quarter, the tailback simply ran for 28 yards the next play. A third-and-15 in the second quarter was no trouble for Garrett, who found Shawn Prevo on a 26-yard strike to earn a first down. Two plays later, on second-and-16, Garrett ran it 19 yards himself for a touchdown.
“We’d make plays, and then we’d have a bust,” said Sevier County safety Austin Rice. “They’d bust a play open. And it seemed like once they got inside the 20, it seemed like all the pressure just stopped. They’d make a play.”
And so it went. Two drives later, the Bears forced a third-and-five. Garrett ran for 18 yards. Sevier County was close to holding on third-and-10 three plays later, but Garrett found Miller on a 24-yard pass that took the ball to the 1-yard line.
It was second-and-13 in the second half after the Bears stopped Burgess for a loss. Garrett came back with a 24-yard pass.
“That’s been a concern of ours. When we get into third-and-long, those obvious pass situations, we’ve not been great,” said Rebels coach George Quarles. “I thought tonight we made some plays. ... Instead of having to punt or go for a field goal you keep a drive going. Those are those hidden points that people talk about.”
Brewer is hoping the next time Sevier County can stop those drives. He reminded his team what the Bears did 20 years ago against Brentwood Academy. After being blown out in 1993, Sevier County was down just three in the fourth quarter the next year, eventually losing by 10.
“You see the level that you’ve got to play at,” Brewer said. “Obviously we’re not there but we’re going to work to get there. The next step is to come out and prepare hard this week. We’ve got a very improved Cherokee team coming to town. We’ve got to get over this loss as quick as we can.”